Service in Every Season
Erin Burgos will be the first to tell you that serving in the church – no matter what season of life you may find yourself in – is a life-changing, faith-growing, and community-forming experience.
Over a bowl of frozen yogurt one morning in 2011, a friend encouraged her to join the Journey Kids team as an assistant teacher in the upper elementary classroom. Erin had been attending The Journey West County for about a year, and although open to the idea of plugging into ministry service, she was unsure of how her giftings and resources would fit with her assigned age group.
“Looking back, this time taught me the value of coming with what felt like nothing to give, and ending up giving the only thing that the kids really needed – my humble service and willingness to wrestle alongside of them to understand who God is,” says Erin. The kids’ unexpected and hard questions challenged and impressed her with their deep desire to understand God, His Word, and the gospel. “Even when I felt unprepared, the Holy Spirit provided,” says Erin. “I think it also showed the kids that it’s okay not to have all the answers.”
The following year brought new transitions and changes in Erin’s life. She moved to Maplewood and began attending The Journey Hanley Road, a location closer to her new home. Eager to stay connected to the Journey Kids ministry, she quickly volunteered as the program’s service coordinator.
“During this season of my life, I was a single mom and needed a role that didn’t require much prep outside of Sunday mornings,” Erin says. “I also loved that I could be part of a ministry where I could see and interact with my daughter. I loved serving while she was in Journey Kids.”
In many ways, her service in Journey Kids at The Journey Hanley Road continued to build on her faith-forming experiences from serving at West County. “This season of service really showed me how much we (as the church) need every single person – adult, young adult, teen, and kiddo. It’s in service together, reliant on one another, that we can truly live out our calling of being the body of Christ,” says Erin.
Her service at Hanley Road taught her the value – and oftentimes necessity – of being flexible and willing to adjust and improvise on a consistent basis. This lesson spilled over into her personal life, as her circumstances continued to transition and change. A few years after moving to Maplewood, between 2013-2016, Erin married, gained a step-daughter, moved to St. Charles, began working at The Journey’s leadership training ministry, Three Fourteen Institute, began attending The Journey West County again, and welcomed a baby into her new family.
Following a season of rest, as her life settled into a new but regular rhythm, Erin divided her time between caring for her new baby and family, working in full-time ministry, co-leading a community group at The Journey, and pursuing training to become a lay counselor at The Journey’s Karis House Community Counseling Center.
Despite a full schedule, however, she felt a tug in her heart to resume service on Sunday morning at The Journey West County. “I began working at the Journey Kids Welcome and Check-in Desk – a role where I could wear my baby if I needed to!” says Erin. She helped families navigate the check-in process, welcome new faces to Journey Kids, and guide children to the right classrooms. “Initially, I wondered how ‘important’ this role was, but I learned that the most important part of welcoming people to our church is being present and just showing up,” says Erin.
Today, Erin still volunteers in this role – one that has taught her the value of presence and a simple smile, she says. Reflecting on all the different ways she’s served at The Journey, Erin says she’s grateful for the connections and the bonds that have formed between her and her church family.
“Because of my service and the relationships that formed from it, I can pray for the 4th and 5th graders I taught and their families. The volunteers I coordinated at Hanley Road were part of a village that helped raise my children (and are continuing to do so now!). And the new faces I’ve met at the Welcome Desk have now become familiar, and the hesitant kiddos I’ve checked in have now become comfortable and enthusiastic in their classrooms,” Erin says.
Service in every season is a surprising and beautiful blessing that Erin has experienced first-hand. To her church family considering joining The Journey’s community of incredible volunteers, she says, “Whatever life looks like for you right now, our church needs you!” We hope you’ll join us.
For more information about our Journey Kids ministry and volunteer opportunities, visit our Journey Kids page and contact one of our location directors!